I used to love this game as a kid. I bet you might have even played with it to…or at least seen it…it’s called “Barrel of Monkeys.” I know you are thinking, ‘Yes, I remember that” or “I wish I had some right now!” They were (are) so much fun. The objective is invent your own games trying to link up the monkeys. I used to love to see how long of a chain I could make without it breaking. I would also have one hang on to a back of a chair and see if they all could link up and stay connected to reach another chair. Of course, there was a whole story line going through my head about rescuing someone over an alligator infested river and each monkey holding on for dear life, each dependent on the other, each encouraging the others to hang in there with shouts of, ‘hold on tight, strengthen your grip, you can do it.’ The sense of togetherness and ‘team’ was always fun for me.
This image of being linked up is a good visual of a key element of life. Solomon, a very wise and successful man said this about being linked up…
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Our choice and ability to connect with others really helps in life. I know when I have faced difficulty it is so encouraging when there is someone else to hang on to, someone encouraging me to hold on tight. The Bible has a lot to say about our connection and interaction with each other. Here are a few:
Hebrews 10:24-25: 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another– and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
We don’t like the admonishing times in our connections and interactions. But actually they can sharpen us.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Just like two knives drawn across the sides of the blade of the other sharpen, so do the connections between people. We learn as we are confronted, reproved, coached we need to improve. Yes it creates a bit of friction, but just like the friction of those knife blades clashing create friction, so do good relationships.
It’s this linking up that Jesus set as a method for our growth and development.
Matthew 28:19-20: 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This linked up relationship is called discipleship. Discipleship is an interactive connection between fellow Christians that cause one another to thrive as followers of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul encouraged this method as well as he addressed one of his disciples…and us
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
This unique relationship could be a one-on-one type or a small group. Regardless, it’s a link we should go after where we are learning from a mentor and giving back to a disciple. Just like in 2 Timothy 2:2, Timothy was being mentored by Paul and Timothy was giving back to reliable men…and even with those men who were being mentored by Timothy, Timothy was building into their lives and they were investing into others.
Just like that Barrel of Monkeys were designed to link up, so are we. We were designed to be connected to others both learning from and teaching to. So the question is who are you linked up to? Who are you learning from? Who are you mentoring? This is a key in life.
Actually this Sunday at the Cypress Church campus we are meeting for our Annual Celebration (9:30am – one service) and unveiling our yearly theme. Can you guess what it might be about? No, not about monkeys? It’s about Being Discipleship Intensive. If you are in the area I would love for you to join us. Plus we have a barrel full of fun praising God and thanking Him for this past year, baptisms, testimonies, an inspiring challenge from God’s Word, and more. We will also conclude our time with a church picnic at the park across from the church (bring a lunch and a blank or chairs to sit in). It will be a great time…even a wonderful time to link up.
Seeking to link up as we follow Jesus,
PS Being we are ‘One Church – Many Branches’ all three of our branches will be together (Cypress, Los Al, and Khmer/Cambodian branches) this Sunday. So please come early and it would be very helpful if you could use our off-site parking option at Cypress High School. We do run shuttles. Check out our Website for more information www.cypresschurch.net